Turning customer evangelism upside down

An interesting question from marketing guru Katherine Stone on the recent Fast Company Now Blogjam: "Plenty of people talk about customer evangelism from the standpoint of consumers raving about companies, brands and products, but why is it that we rarely hear about customer evangelism from the standpoint of companies raving about their customers?"

We all know the benefit of having those great attendees who come to every meeting, and tell all their friends, colleagues, and just about everyone but their pet groomers about how fabulous it was. But how often do you go out of your way to tout your attendees? If you're with an association, what do you do to help them connect with each other in their area of expertise, beyond stuff you get money for like expos and sponsorships?

In the comments section, some people said they were using discussion forums and customer profiles to highlight their best customers; and establishing a directory where clients can tell other clients about what they do. "It is my hope that this will lead to some interesting cross-polination of customers as they develop their own relationships and remember that I was the person who brought them together," commented one guy.

What are you doing, both at your meetings and on an organizational level, to spread the love in both directions? What can we do, as industry magazines, to show you how much we appreciate your readership (and, if you're on the supplier side, advertising with us)?

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